Phone: (08) 6156 9363 – Mobile Physiotherapy Service Across the Perth Metro Area

Just had a knee replacement? Looking to get back on your feet stronger and more confident than ever? We’ve got you covered! From the beautiful trails of Kings Park to the stunning beaches of Cottesloe, being active in Perth is a joy we want you to get back to.

Whether you’re eager to stroll along the Swan River or join a weekend game of footy, getting your knee in top shape is the first step.

This guide will walk you through essential exercises to strengthen your knees after a knee replacement, ensuring a smooth and successful recovery.

We’ll cover everything from gentle movements to get you started right after surgery to more advanced exercises for building long-term strength and stability. With consistency, patience, and the right exercises, you’ll be back to enjoying all the wonderful activities Perth and the world has to offer.

Phase 1: Immediate Post-Surgery Exercises (1 to 3 Days Post-Surgery)

Recovery starts sooner than you might think—often just hours after surgery. It might sound surprising, but moving your knee immediately is crucial for a successful recovery. The earlier you start, the better your knee will heal and strengthen.

Ankle Pumps

While lying down, gently pump your ankles up and down to encourage blood flow and reduce swelling. This simple exercise does wonders for your circulation and helps prevent blood clots.

Heel Slides

Lie on your back, bend your knee, and slide your heel towards your buttocks to gently increase your knee’s range of motion. This exercise helps keep your knee flexible and prevents stiffness from setting in. Just take it slow and steady—no need to rush.

Phase 2: Early At-Home Exercises (2 to 3 Weeks Post-Surgery)

Once you’re home, consistency is key to regaining strength and mobility. It’s all about forming a routine that fits into your day-to-day life and sticking with it. This is where you start building the foundation for a strong recovery.

Quad Sets

While sitting or lying down, tighten your thigh muscles and press the back of your knee down towards the bed or floor. Hold for a few seconds and release. This simple exercise helps wake up your quadriceps and builds strength.

Straight Leg Raises

Lie on your back with one leg bent and the other straight. Lift the straight leg to the height of the bent knee and hold before lowering slowly. This exercise targets your quadriceps without putting too much strain on your knee.

Seated Knee Extensions

Sit in a chair, straighten your leg, and hold for a few seconds before lowering it slowly. This exercise is great for improving the strength and flexibility of your knee.

Phase 3: Intermediate Outpatient Therapy Exercises (4 to 12 Weeks Post-Surgery)

Your knee is getting stronger, and now it’s time to take it up a notch. This phase is all about building on the foundation you’ve set and pushing towards more challenging exercises. You’ll start to feel more confident in your movements, and your knee will become more resilient with each session.

Mini Squats

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower your body into a squat, only going down a few inches. Hold and return to standing. Mini squats are fantastic for engaging your quadriceps and improving your knee stability without overdoing it.


Use a low step or a sturdy platform. Step up with your operated leg, followed by the other, and step down in reverse. Step-ups help strengthen your quads and improve your balance. Just make sure the platform is stable to avoid any mishaps.

Stationary Cycling

Start with low resistance and gradually increase as your strength and endurance improve. This is great for mobility and cardiovascular health. Cycling is gentle on the knees and helps maintain your range of motion while boosting your fitness level.

As you progress through these exercises, you’ll notice your knee becoming stronger and more capable. Keep challenging yourself, but always listen to your body.

Phase 4: Advanced Exercises for Full Recovery (4 to 12 Months Post-Surgery)

This phase is about ensuring your knee is strong enough for daily activities and beyond. You’ve come a long way, and now it’s time to focus on advanced exercises that will help you regain full functionality and confidence in your knee.

Wall Sits

Stand with your back against the wall and slide down into a seated position, holding as long as comfortable. Wall sits are excellent for building endurance in your quadriceps and improving overall knee stability.

Leg Press

Using a leg press machine, start with low weights and gradually increase. Focus on controlled movements. This exercise targets your leg muscles comprehensively and helps build significant strength without overstraining your knee.


Step forward with one leg and lower your hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push back to the starting position and alternate legs. Lunges are great for improving balance and strength in your legs, and they simulate many everyday movements, helping your knee adapt to various activities.

Incorporating Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardio helps improve overall health and aids in faster recovery. It boosts your heart and lung function, increases circulation, and helps keep your muscles flexible and strong.

Plus, it’s a great way to move your body without putting too much stress on your new knee.

Suggested Cardio Activities


A great low-impact exercise that provides resistance while being gentle on your joints. Swimming allows you to work out your whole body without the impact of other exercises, making it perfect for knee recovery.


Start with short distances on flat surfaces and gradually increase both distance and incline. Walking is simple yet effective for maintaining joint flexibility and strength. Begin with easy walks around your neighbourhood or a nearby park, and as you feel more comfortable, challenge yourself with longer distances or slight inclines.

Stationary Bike

Safe and effective, this helps improve knee mobility and endurance. Cycling on a stationary bike is excellent for getting your heart rate up while being easy on your joints. Start with low resistance and slowly increase it as your strength builds.

Tips for Safe and Effective Exercise

knee strengthening exercises

1.) Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to any signs of discomfort or pain. If something feels off, stop and consult your therapist. It’s important to distinguish between normal post-exercise soreness and pain that could indicate an issue. Your body knows best, so don’t push through pain.

2.) Consistency Over Intensity

Regular, moderate exercise is more beneficial than occasional intense workouts. Aim for a steady and consistent routine that you can maintain over time. This approach helps you build strength and endurance gradually, reducing the risk of injury.

3.) Stay in Touch with Your Therapist

Regular check-ins ensure you’re on the right track, and can adjust your routine as needed. Your physical therapist is your best resource for personalised advice and adjustments. They can help tweak your exercises to match your progress and address any concerns.

Key Takeaway

Recovering from knee replacement surgery is a journey, but with the right exercises and a bit of patience, you’ll be back to enjoying all the wonderful activities Perth has to offer.

Remember, follow the structured phases of recovery to achieve the best results. Focus on exercises that build strength, flexibility, and stability. Incorporate low-impact cardio to boost your overall health and aid in your recovery.

Always prioritise safety and listen to your body—if something doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to take a break. Celebrate every small victory along the way; each milestone is a step towards full recovery.

Soon, you’ll be ready for those beach walks and park trails again. Stay patient, stay consistent, and remember—you’ve got this!

At TherapyWA, we come to you to help you thrive. Our Perth-wide mobile physiotherapy services are designed to support you in regaining your independence. Visit TherapyWA to learn how we can assist you on your journey to recovery and beyond.